Kerala to be home to Indias first all-women technology park

Written by M Sarita Varma | Thiruvanananthapuram | Updated: Feb 28 2013, 05:49am hrs
Kerala is readying to set up Indias first all-women technology park, come next fiscal. The park is slated to come up in Puthenthopu, a coastal village near Thiruvananthapuram. The states initial investment for the first phase of the project is likely to be about R1.5 crore.

Civil work on the park is envisaged to start by April, said VN Rajasekharan Pillai, principal secretary (science and technology), Kerala.

The Union ministry for science and technology has given the initial approval for the project proposal. This project would synergise the Centre and state plan funds, earmarked to promote micro-entrepreneurship by women, Pillai told FE.

Unlike the Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram or any other IT park, the women technology parks prime focus would be honing entrepreneurship infrastructure and capacity building for women. Since the department of non-conventional energy was also supportive of the project, the parks USP is said to revolve around energy saving technologies.

Under the proposal, women entrepreneurs would get infrastructure support to set up incubation centres in the park.

They would get expert training to equip themselves within three years and once established, they can continue on their own or move out of the park to set up their own new ventures.

The park would also leverage its geographical access to Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI), commercialising the technologies for value-added tapioca products.

Technology for better utilisation of tuber crops is expected to come out with unique value-added products like nutritionally-fortified low glycaemic pasta for diabetic patients, tech dairy, fish feed, pet food and biological control agents , according G Padmaja, who heads the crop utilisation division in CTCRI.

The project site for the proposed women technology park is less than an hours drive from Technopark.

The Tropical Botanical Garden & Research Institute (TBGRI) is also envisaged to pitch in with its gender empowerment inputs in technopreneurship. Mushroom production and organic farming technologies from TBGRI will also be made available in the parks technology pool.

Value-addition of any farm product through food processing, preservation or packing, floriculture and vermiculture would get the support of ministry of food processing.

Energy-saving devices like smokeless chulhas, warm cases etc, which are traditionally the domain of women, are likely to be manufactured in the park, with more user-friendly innovations, said KR Lekha, scientist, Kerala State Council of Science, Technology and Enviornment (KSCSTE).

The Women Technology Park project, the brainchild of KSCTE, is designed to be a business incubator for the women technopreneurs.